Weekly News Round-Up: June 29th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: June 29th, 2018

Dear {{ recipient.first_name_or_friend }}, 

Below please find this week's news round-up.

We are pleased to welcome The University of Toronto Asset Management Corporation as the newest member of the Network! 

We also announced this week that IEN has broadened our executive team with the addition of Sandra Urie, chairman emeritus of Cambridge Associates, and Anthony Rust, chairman of the investment committee at the Warren Wilson College, to the Board of Directors of The Crane Institute of Sustainability, IEN's organizational home. Read the full press release for more information.

Please 'vote up' our proposed SOCAP session discussing whether mission-aligned investment, and in particular divestment from fossil fuels, is a discretionary choice or a legal requirement.

Lastly, be sure to check out the articles in Barron's Special Report on Sustainable Investing highlighted below!

Have a great weekend and Happy Fourth,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

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New IEN Member
 
IEN in the News

The Crane Institute of Sustainability - Home of the Intentional Endowments Network - Expands Board with Two Key Additions

  • IEN broadened its executive team with the addition of two new members to the Board of Directors of The Crane Institute of Sustainability (“Crane”), IEN’s organizational home. Both Sandra Urie, chairman emeritus of investment advisory firm, Cambridge Associates, LLC and Anthony Rust, chairman of the investment committee at the Warren Wilson College joined Crane’s Board in June. Collectively they bring nearly six decades of investment management experience and deep experience working with endowments on sustainability, impact, and mission-related investing.
 
Sustainable Investing at Endowments  

Vermont State Colleges Shifts Portion of Endowment Funds to Fossil Free Investments l Vermont Biz

  • The Vermont State Colleges System Board of Trustees has agreed to shift a portion of its endowment funds into fossil-free investments starting this July.  At its summer meeting on June 21st, the Board approved moving 20% of its endowment, or approximately $5,700,000, into investments that are screened to be fossil-free. This reallocation is a pilot effort and will allow the VSCS to monitor and evaluate investment returns for similarly invested fossil free and non-fossil free portfolios.
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Barron's Special Report on Sustainable Investing l Barron's

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how Nordea Bank divested from Facebook last week and thinks other sustainable investors should too; A U.S. judge threw out city climate change lawsuits;  and solving the plastic crisis starts with trash in Asia.

Investors Are Right To Consider ESG Risks, Says New Report By Corporate Governance Association l Forbes

  • Investors are right to consider ESG risks because they can impact the worth of intangible assets (including brand names, reputation, top managers, technological know-how and a loyal, well-trained and engaged workforce) which make up more than 80% of company value, said a new report by the Society for Corporate Governance. a professional association for internal corporate governance workers and external consultants.

Sustainability is Good For Humanity, But it's Better For Business l Business Insider

  • According to Jeffrey Hollender, co-founder and former CEO of the sustainable consumer product company Seventh Generation, current co-CEO of Sustain Natural, and professor of sustainability at NYU Stern, sustainability isn't just good for humanity — it's good for business.  On an episode of Business Insider's "The Bottom Line," Hollender said that sustainability is about more than the environment and that sustainable business practices are good for business.

How ESG Investing Increases Risk-Adjusted Returns l U.S. News

  • This article highlights how, while many investors view ESG as just another means of socially responsible investing, ESG investing can and should serve the role of risk reduction.

UK Initiates Social Impact Investment Drive l Chief Investment Officer

  • The UK government said it will work with the country’s investment and savings industry to help launch social impact investment funds. It also said it plans to encourage more investments in disadvantaged areas and to create “investment opportunities that address social challenges, while also creating a financial return.”

 How to Ensure Fund Managers Are Authentically ESG l Market Watch

  • A surefire way to work out if an ESG manager knows what they are talking about is to question the data that underpins their sustainable approach. Speaking at a roundtable event in London, Werner von Baum, managing partner at LGT Capital Partners, said you want managers to question the pros and cons of different data sets and still apply their own taxonomy.
 
 Green Bonds

ESG Podcast: Guidance Needed to Nurture the Green Bond Market l The Asset ESG Forum

  • In this podcast, Rahul Ghosh, senior vice-president of ESG and green bonds at Moody’s Investors Service explains why government policy is key to spurring the growth of the green bonds market.

ESG Factors Increasingly Relevant For Fixed Income Investors l Environmental Finance

  • ESG factors are clearly relevant and material for fixed income investors, according to panelists at Environmental Finance's Fixed Income & ESG conference in London. However, there are distinct differences in the way that ESG factors are integrated into fixed income, compared with equities.
 
 Fiduciary Duty

SOCAP Session Voting: Do The Right Thing: Fiduciary Duty, Divestment, And The Law l SOCAP Open

  • If you're planning on attending SOCAP this year, please 'vote up' our proposed session discussing whether mission-aligned investment, and in particular divestment from fossil fuels, is a discretionary choice or a legal requirement. This session will bring together those responsible for endowments and those advising on the legal position for a lively conversation involving the audience around trustees engagement, what inhibits them, and how these inhibitors are being overcome on each side of the pond.
 
Climate Risk, Science, Regulation & Clean Energy

What is the Climate Alignment Test? l Paris Agreement Capital Transition Assessment

  • This website is home to the Climate Alignment Pilot Test. This initiative is part of the Paris Agreement Capital Transition Assessment (PACTA) project, designed to measure 2°C alignment in financial markets.  It provides information on potential participation in the project, as well as background research material, information, and links around the topic of Paris Agreement and financial markets.

Clean Portfolio Project l Croatan Institute

  • The Clean Portfolio Project takes a total portfolio approach to fossil-free investing in integrated climate solutions. With the input of an expert advisory panel, the project creates model portfolios that help individuals and institutions not only divest from fossil fuels but also invest in diversified solutions to climate change. The portfolios build upon Croatan Institute’s framework of total portfolio activation, encouraging investors to re-allocate capital to high-impact opportunities across asset classes.

Shell Acknowledges Global Divestment Movement In Its Annual Report l Clean Technica

  • Comments in Shell's Annual Report and Form 20-F have been highlighted this week by 350.org, describing the report as identifying “divestment and climate litigation as material risks to the company’s bottom line.”

Ørsted Initiates a Structured Divestment Process For Its Danish Power Distribution and Residential Customer Businesses l Global News Wire

  • In just a few years, Ørsted has become a global leader in offshore wind, and the company has an ambitious plan to maintain and expand its leading position in existing and new markets. The company invests DKK 15-20bn annually, of which more than 85% is dedicated to offshore wind. In addition to these investments, Ørsted is working to develop a portfolio of green growth initiatives.

Major Studies Reveal 60 Percent More Methane Emissions l Environmental Defense Fund

  • Extensive research led by EDF shows methane leaks in the U.S. are a far greater threat than the government’s estimate suggests. The Environmental Protection Agency says the oil and gas industry emits eight million metric tons of methane a year. EDF'first-of-its-kindn five-year research series uncovered at least 13 million metric tons of methane leaks.
 
Investment Firm News 

Fidelity Launches Sustainability Bond Index Fund; Only Firm to Offer ESG Index Mutual Funds in Every Major Asset Class l OA Online

  • Fidelity Investments, one of the industry’s largest providers of low-cost actively-managed and index investment products, this week announced it has expanded its suite of sustainability-focused index funds with a new fixed income offering: Fidelity Sustainability Bond Index Fund, which, alongside Fidelity U.S. Sustainability Index Fund and Fidelity International Sustainability Index Fund, makes Fidelity the only firm to offer ESG index mutual funds in every major asset class.

Vanguard Plans to Start Its First ETFs Tied to ESG Investing l Bloomberg

  • Vanguard Group plans to start its first set of exchange-traded funds that invest using ESG criteria. The company filed with the SEC to create a U.S. stock ETF and an international stock ETF that will screen for ESG factors, according to a statement Wednesday. The firm has an existing mutual fund tied to such strategies, the $4.4 billion Vanguard FTSE Social Index Fund, that was launched in 2000. 

400 Companies Poised to Advance SDGs, Generate Returns Make Up New Swell Investing Portfolio l Sustainable Brands

  • Highlighting the importance of transparency in investing, impact investing platform Swell Investing has invited the public to vote on the final security in the Impact 400, a portfolio with the goal of offering investors 400 companies poised for impact and returns. Both Apple and Starbucks meet Swell's selective rules-based criteria, and the community will decide which will be included.

Neuberger Berman Begins Municipal Impact Fund To Invest In Impact Projects l Business Insider

  • Neuberger Berman, a private, independent, employee-owned investment manager, announced changes to introduce the Neuberger Berman Municipal Impact Fund. Neuberger Berman is excited about the municipal impact sector space and believes that material ESG characteristics can be important drivers of long-term investment returns from both an opportunity and a risk mitigation perspective.
 
General Higher Education Endowment News

How One Small School’s Endowment Is Topping the Class l The Wall Street Journal

  • Quinnipiac University, a small school best known for political polls, is beating the biggest names in higher education at investing with the help of an unlikely force: the stock picker. The private university tucked away in the Connecticut hills delivered annualized gains of 6.1% for the decade ended June 30, 2017. The returns are in the top 10% of U.S. schools ranked by the National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund.

Harvard Billionaires Bail Out Alma Mater From Poor Fund Returns l Bloomberg

  • This article outlines how Harvard's average endowment returns may lag behind other Ivy Leagues, but Wall Street’s elite make the school a fundraising powerhouse.
 
Fossil Fuel Divestment

 Presbyterians Demur on Divestment From Fossil Fuels l Religion News

  • For the third time in a row, the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s General Assembly decided against divesting from fossil fuel companies. Instead, delegates passed a resolution at the biennial meeting of the PCUSA last week in St. Louis asking the denomination’s Mission Responsibility Through Investment committee to continue engagement with corporations that produce or heavily consume fossil fuels.
 
 
Calendar of Upcoming Events

Intentionally Designed Endowment Roundtable at the Appalachian Energy Summit l July 30th - August 1st, 2018, Boone, NC (by invitation)

  • The Appalachian Energy Summit, which runs from July 30 - August 1, will feature a plenary panel on endowment investing with representatives from the Crane Institute and the Intentional Endowments Network, as well as a half-day roundtable for CFOs and trustees from the UNC system and other schools in the region (by invitation).

Global Climate Action Summit l Global Climate Action SummitSeptember 12-14, 2018, San Francisco, CA

PRI In Person l Principles for Responsible Investment, September 12-14, 2018, San Francisco, CA

2018 Investing for Impact Symposium | High Water Women, October 17, 2018, New York, NY

The 29th Annual SRI Conference l November 1-3, 2018, Colorado Springs, CO

2019 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit | February 10-12, 2019, Tempe, AZ